The claim: The US military arrested Hunter Biden at Dulles International Airport
President Joe Biden’s embattled son continues to be the subject of baseless conspiracy theories on social media.
An Aug. 30 article from a website called Real Raw News says the U.S. military arrested Hunter Biden at Washington Dulles International Airport on Monday morning. He was returning from Dubai with “two underage female companions” and “several kilograms of ‘crack-cocaine,'” the article claims.
“According to sources familiar with the arrest, U.S. Customs and Immigration Services detained Hunter Biden and friends moments after they had claimed baggage at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.,” wrote Michael Baxter, owner of Real Raw News.
The article amassed more than 1,200 shares on Facebook within three days, according to CrowdTangle, a social media insights tool. It has also inspired social media posts that regurgitate its claims.
Biden has attracted widespread scrutiny for his taxes and business dealings overseas, including serving on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father was vice president. He has also been open about his drug and alcohol addiction.
But the article is bogus.
There is no evidence Hunter Biden has been arrested. Real Raw News has repeatedly published false claims about the military arresting high-profile politicians and other public figures. That narrative is related to the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory.
USA TODAY reached out to Baxter for comment.
No evidence Hunter Biden was arrested
The arrest of the president’s son at a major international airport would make headlines around the world. But USA TODAY could find no credible media organizations reporting Hunter Biden is in custody.
A disclaimer from Real Raw News says the website “contains humor, parody, and satire.” But nothing on the article about Hunter Biden indicates it’s satirical.
Real Raw News has previously published made-up stories about public figures getting arrested.
USA TODAY has debunked claims that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was taken into custody on child sex trafficking charges, that Navy SEALs arrested former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and that U.S. Special Forces arrested Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. Real Raw News has also falsely claimed Clinton was hanged at Guantanamo Bay and Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett was put under house arrest.
Those hoaxes play into the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, which says former President Donald Trump is secretly fighting an underground cabal of satanic, cannibalistic child sex traffickers whose members include politicians like Clinton and celebrities like Tom Hanks.
QAnon supporters say that effort will culminate in something called “the storm,” when Trump and the U.S. military will arrest and execute members of the cabal. However, QAnon’s predictions haven’t come true, and its claims have been repeatedly debunked.
USA TODAY could find no evidence that Hunter Biden has been arrested.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that the U.S. military arrested Biden at Dulles. There is no evidence that happened. Real Raw News has repeatedly published false claims about politicians and public figures being arrested by the military. That narrative plays into the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, whose predictions have been repeatedly debunked.
Our fact-check sources:
- USA TODAY, Dec. 9, 2020, Hunter Biden’s taxes under investigation by US attorney’s office in Delaware
- USA TODAY, March 31, Hunter Biden says he was ‘smoking crack every 15 minutes’, more jaw-dropping moments from memoir ‘Beautiful Things’
- Real Raw News, accessed Sept. 2, About Us (archived)
- CrowdTangle, accessed Sept. 2
- USA TODAY, Aug. 6, Fact check: Bill Gates was not arrested by the US military
- USA TODAY, March 8, Fact check: Hillary Clinton was not arrested by Navy SEALs acting on Trump’s order
- USA TODAY, June 17, Fact check: Hillary Clinton was not hanged at Guantanamo Bay
- USA TODAY, June 29, Fact check: Adam Schiff latest politician targeted in QAnon arrest hoax
- USA TODAY, May 30, Fact check: False claim about Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett
- USA TODAY, Oct. 21, 2020, Fact check: Biden leveraged $1B in aid to Ukraine to oust corrupt prosecutor, not to help his son
- USA TODAY, Aug. 4, QAnon followers distance themselves from the movement’s most bizarre conspiracy theories as they rebrand
- USA TODAY, Sept. 17, 2020, Debunked QAnon conspiracy theories are seeping into mainstream social media. Don’t be fooled.
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